Expressive Verb Morphology Deficits in Arabic-Speaking Children With Developmental Language Disorder.


Taha J(1)(2), Stojanovik V(1), Pagnamenta E(1).
Author information:
(1)School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, United Kingdom.
(2)Department of Audiology and Speech Therapy, Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestinian Territories.


Purpose This study investigated the production of tense and subject-verb agreement in Palestinian Arabic-speaking children with developmental language disorder (DLD) in comparison to their typically developing (TD) peers in terms of (a) performance accuracy and (b) error patterns. Method Participants were 14 children with DLD aged 4;0-7;10 and 32 TD children aged 3;0-8;0 matched on nonverbal abilities. Children were asked to complete a picture-based verb elicitation task. The task was designed to measure the production accuracy of tense and subject-verb agreement inflections in Arabic. Results The DLD group scored significantly lower than the TD group on the verb elicitation task. The DLD group was significantly less accurate than the TD group in marking tense, specifically present tense. They were also less accurate in marking agreement in general, with specific difficulty in using feminine verb forms. The DLD and TD groups differed in their tense error patterns, but not in agreement error patterns. Conclusions The acquisition of verb morphology in Palestinian Arabic-speaking children with DLD appears to be delayed and possibly different from their TD peers. The DLD group found the production of marked verb forms more challenging than less marked ones. These results are discussed in light of the structural characteristics of Arabic. Future studies would need to include larger sample sizes; investigate other aspects of verb morphology, including both production and comprehension; include other language domains; and consider longitudinal designs to provide more in-depth knowledge of Arabic language acquisition.